Major League Baseball
Kasumba Dennis: 'I'm working hard to help my grandmother, my baseball brothers'
Major League Baseball

Kasumba Dennis: 'I'm working hard to help my grandmother, my baseball brothers'

Published May. 30, 2023 2:53 p.m. ET

Kasumba Dennis is an 18-year-old catching prospect from Uganda who has garnered attention from across the baseball world by posting videos of himself doing various baseball drills without the resources available to most aspiring players. Dennis is preparing to play in the upcoming MLB Draft League. What's his journey to this point, and what does the future have in store?

I spoke to Dennis and his coach in a wide-ranging interview on "Flippin' Bats."

Ben Verlander: How do you even fall in love with the game of baseball, being from Uganda?

Kasumba Dennis: I started [playing] baseball because I wanted to throw a lot. In Uganda, we have different sports like football, basketball, but baseball is difficult to get in, and I like a challenge. That's why I wanted to play baseball, because it's a difficult game.


When did you start playing?

I started playing baseball when I was eight … At that time, I was with my grandmother. I left baseball when I was eight because I had to take care of my grandmother and to get some more money to help my grandmother, but Coach Paul was in Japan, came to Uganda and asked Coach Simpa 'where is Kasumba?' Coach Simpa told him 'he's not here,' but coach Paul came to my place and said 'please, come back. We're going to take care of you,' and then I came back to baseball.

How did you start learning the game when you realized you loved it?

Before I started playing baseball, I was using my tee because I did not know baseball. I didn't know a bat, and I used stone with a stick and I hit myself … and I used that stick to hit, and I got to pick my stone. When I picked my stone, Coach Simpa told me ‘oh no, don’t use [that]. Come on, we'll go to the baseball pitch and I'll teach you. He told me, 'this is a bat, this is a baseball, this is a glove, this is a game called baseball.' That's the way I started playing baseball, and I learned [about] baseball equipment.

When did you start posting videos on social media?

I was playing on the Uganda National Team and with my team in Giza. Everyone wanted me because I'm playing baseball, but I started posting my videos to get opportunities … If I can get another team, it can give me an opportunity to play with them.

Did somebody reach out to you with Major League Baseball and ask if you wanted to come play?

When I was posting my videos, people looked through my videos and contacted the president of baseball in Uganda to reach out to me. Then, people contacted me.

What are you most excited about coming to the United States?

I'm excited because I'm going to be near with my dream to become an MLB player. To be like Salvador Perez, Yadier Molina. I've heard of Salvador Perez from the steps, throwing, hitting. I like him so much.

Is Salvador Perez your favorite catcher?

Yes, that's why I want to be better than him.

Rene Rivera is going to be your coach. Have you talked to him yet?

Yes, every time I talk to him, and I'm so excited I'm going to meet him.

Do you believe you'll be able to hit pitching over here? What's the hardest pitchers you have faced in Uganda?

In Uganda, I faced a lot of the best pitchers, and I hit them, and I hope when I go to the U.S. I can hit because Salvador Perez can hit … he can hit, that's why I'm working hard in my batting skill, throwing, to be perfect in everything.

What would you say your goals are while playing in the MLB Draft League?

My dream is to become an MLB player. That's why when I go there, I want to work hard to win, to become an MVP, so that MLB can draft me and at that team to work hard, so I can help my brothers in Uganda who are playing baseball because everyone is poor here.

What makes you work as hard as you do work?

I'm working hard because I want to become better. I want to help my grandmother because my situation here is not good. Sometimes I'm going to the baseball field without eating anything, and I did not tell anyone. Because sometimes I watch my videos, and I look one-by-one, ‘this video I was not eating,’ this video I was hungry.' That's why I'm working hard to help my grandmother, my baseball brothers and then me to achieve my goal.

Are you coming alone, or is somebody coming with you?

I'm coming alone … I'm going to stay with Mr. [Rene] Rivera.

Off the field, what do you think you are most excited about to experience in the United States?

At first, I'm going to see beautiful baseball domes because I've never seen a baseball field like major-league stadiums. And I have the opportunity, I'm going to play with like MLB players. I'm so excited to see good domes.

What are you most excited to try in terms of food?


If you had a message to all of your fans in the United States, what would your message be?

First, I want to thank you, Mr. Ben. Thank you very much for helping me. Thank you for being a good man. Thank you for being a good friend. I want to thank everyone who believed in me because it's very difficult to believe in someone who's not seen. Thank you very much. I really, really appreciate it, and I promise I'm going to work hard to become an MLB player to change everyone when I have an opportunity.

The remarkable story of Kasumba Dennis & his journey from Uganda to MLB hopeful

FOLLOW Follow your favorites to personalize your FOX Sports experience
Major League Baseball

Get more from Major League Baseball Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more